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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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than those  who are not educated, probably because they perceive their interests differently.
Social security, old-age insurance, and pensions. If old people are supported by the state or through insurance or pension schemes, parents do not have to anticipate depending on their children for income in their old age. The economic incentive for having children is markedly lessened.
Employment opportunities for women. If employment outside the home is available to women, the opportunity costs of having children are increased. A woman who must stay home to take care of her children must forego the income she could earn outside the home. Educational and employment opportunities for young women give them an alternative to early marriage and childbearing, and the age of marriage will tend to rise, with a corresponding lowering of fertility rates. This is clearly occurring in certain districts of the state of Punjab in northwestern India, where the average age of marriage of women has risen steadily from about 17 years in 1956 to over 20 years in 1969, as education and job opportunities for young women in teaching, nursing, and other occupations have opened up. In general, however, an expansion of employment opportunities for women is difficult in less developed countries where unemployment and underemployment are already widespread and the size of the labor force is rising more rapidly than the demand for labor.
Improvement in the status of women. Improving the legal status of women through property, divorce, and inheritance laws, giving women the right to vote and facilitating their exercise of voting rights, and secularization of the marriage contract all tend to give women both a greater share in decision-making about the size of their families, and alternative purposes and opportunities to childbearing, thereby reducing the benefits of having children. By widening their horizons and their circle of communication, women are enabled to obtain better information on means of limiting their own fertility and the reasons for doing so.
Improvement in maternal health. Closely related to improvements in the social status of women are health services aimed at reducing maternal mortality and morbidity. These are both markedly affected by the number and spacing of births experienced by the mother. Policies aimed at improving maternal health should therefore include provision of information and materials for reducing fertility.
Reduction of infant and child mortality. High infant and child mortalities are characteristic of nearly all less developed countries. Considerable reduction is possible through improvements in nutrition, innoculations against infectious disease, and other public health measures. When average infant and child mortalities are high, the uncertainty faced by individual parents concerning the number of their children who are likely to survive is also high.
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